A Fife man has made his first appearance at the High Court in Glasgow charged with murdering a 97-year-old woman in her own home.
Sandeep Patel, 37, from Cardenden, stands accused of killing pensioner Annie Temple at an address in West End, Kinglassie, on October 25 last year by repeatedly inflicting blunt force trauma on her head and body, obstructing and constructing her airways and asyphyxiating her, all by means unknown to the Crown.
Patel is similarly accused of fraud and stealing sums of money from Ms Temple.
One charge alleges he stole sum of money totalling £1,000 or thereby from Ms Temple on two occasions between April 1 2019 and April 30 2019, both dates inclusive.
Another alleges on various occasions between October 3 and October 23, at Royal Bank of Scotland branches in Rosslyn Street, Kirkcaldy, and East Port, Dunfermline, and at the Nationwide Building Society in Kirkcaldy High Street, he completed and signed cheques in the name of Annie Jane Temple, with him as the beneficiary, without her knowledge or consent to a total value of £2,750, presented said cheques at the said banks and building society and attempted to obtain £2,750 by fraud, and obtained £1,500 by fraud.
A fourth charge also alleges that Patel uttered as genuine at the RBS branch in Cardenden on July 19 a cheque on behalf of Western Toyota for £5 which he had altered by adding the word ‘hundred’ after the word five and two ‘00’s after the figure five to make it read as a cheque for £500, and deposited the altered cheque for payment there.
Patel made a brief appearance before Lady Johnston at Glasgow High Court, where his legal representative Brian McConnachie QC tendered not guilty pleas in respect of the murder and theft charges.
Those pleas, as well as guilty pleas in relation to the two cheque-related charges, were not accepted by the Crown, and the case will now go forward to a 10 to 12-day trial in Edinburgh in September.
Ms Temple was found dead at her home in the village’s West End by police officers on October 25 after concerns had been raised for her welfare.
Known locally as Nan, she was believed to have been Kinglassie’s oldest resident, and news of her passing shocked the close-knit community.
The village became the focus of intense police activity in the days that followed, and detectives conducted door-to-door inquiries as the probe into what happened got under way.
Initially, police said they were treating Ms Temple’s death as “unexplained”, but the presence of police outside the OAP’s bungalow for weeks after her body had been discovered heightened suggestions some criminality may have been involved.
A post-mortem examination was conducted, and Patel was subsequently arrested on suspicion of murder.
The actions of police officers prior to Ms Temple’s death have also been the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) after the matter was referred to the police watchdog by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).
A report is expected to be submitted to them in due course.